Professional Science Master’s (PSM) Programs

Mission & Overview

The Professional Science Master’s (PSM) Degree is a graduate degree designed to allow students to pursue advanced skills in Urban Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Water Resources Management. Using a combination of application and theory, the three PSM degrees allow learners to gain hands-on experience through project design, project management, implementation, case studies, internships and applied research.


The mission of the Professional Science Master’s Program is to advance students’ knowledge of urban agriculture, urban sustainability and water resources management. The program’s innovative approach to prepares students to be competitive in the workforce and in future careers as lifelong learners.


Students in the urban agriculture, urban sustainability, and water resources management PSM will:

  1. Demonstrate effective problem-solving skills by applying both qualitative and quantitative approaches.
  2. Monitor and assess the impact of urban development on quality of life, ecosystem health, and resilience.
  3. Apply standard and state-of-the art analytical methodologies in determining the quality and sustainability of natural or built environments.
  4. Apply project management and sustainability concepts to plan, execute, monitor and assess project performance and outcomes.
  5. Apply advanced statistical and geospatial analytical tools to make informed decisions.
  6. Demonstrate professionalism and superior oral and written communication skills across diverse fields and cultural backgrounds.

PSM in Urban Agriculture

The Urban Agriculture program connects the dots between locally grown food, nutritional health, and economic empowerment to make urban farming a successful business. The program offers students a chance to see sustainable research techniques applied in action, whether it be at the 143-acre Firebird Farm in Beltsville, Maryland, our 3-acre innovative mobile urban farm in Ward 7 of the District, or the 20,000 sq. ft. rooftop farm on the University’s Van Ness campus.

PSM in Urban Sustainability
The Urban Sustainability program prepares students for a wide range of sustainability careers and rapid advancement in business, government, and non-profit organizations by offering hands-on experience with sustainable project design, implementation, maintenance and assessment. Students will learn how to create solutions for current urban sustainability challenges through case studies and internship programs. The Urban Sustainability PSM is offered online.

PSM in Water Resources Management
The Water Resources Management program is an interdisciplinary and practical graduate program that prepares graduates for effective science communication, problem solving skills, entrepreneurship and technical innovation, in order to address the global challenges of water availability, quality and sustainability.

Degree Requirements

Individuals with a bachelor’s degree and a background in business, economics, planning, mathematics, science, or engineering are encouraged to apply to any of the PSM programs. In order to graduate, students must complete a minimum of 35 credit hours, which can be completed in one and a half years of full-time studies, depending on the degree focus area. The interdisciplinary nature of the programs provides not only deep knowledge of the physical, chemical, and biological sciences applicable to urban systems, but it also builds skills in environmental policy, communication, business management, project management, ethics, and leadership.

All three PSM degrees are applied and allow working professional to bring their own professional experience into the program to advance or to re-tool.

Each PSM may be completed as a certificate. When combined with the required core and professional courses students receive a PSM degree. See Curriculum

All three curricula fulfill the knowledge requirements of the Professional Science Master’s Degree, approved by the National Professional Science Master’s Association (NPSMA).

Career Options

  1. Environmental Scientist
  2. Water Quality Specialist
  3. Hydrologist
  4. Green Infrastructure Specialist
  5. Sustainability Designer
  6. Sustainability Manager
  7. Urban Agriculture Specialist
  8. Environmental Specialist

Cost & Financial Aid

Tuition rates for the University of the District of Columbia can be found here. Financial Aid information for the University of the District of Columbia can be found here.

Faculty Contact

Tolessa Deksissa, Ph.D
PSM Program Director & Water Resources Management Coordinator

Dwane Jones, Ph.D
PSM in Urban Sustainability Coordinator

Matthew Richardson, Ph.D
PSM in Urban Agriculture Coordinator


PSM Brochure
PSM Fact Sheet

Accreditation Requirements

For More Information:

Which Program

Urban Sustainability ProgramUrban Agriculture ProgramWater Resources Management Program